Thousands of Bikers Cruise into Sin City for the 19th Annual Vegas BikeFest®, October 3-6, 2019
LAS VEGAS (November 4, 2019) – Thousands of riders and motorcycle enthusiasts from the United States and 17 countries around the world cruised into Las Vegas for the nineteenth annual Vegas BikeFest at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The action packed, four-day rally delivered an abundance of activities and attractions.
“This year, through our partnership with John Oakes and Freeze Management, the rally was about bringing more experiences to our attendees and attracting new attendees. With the addition of the Hooligan Dirt Dash Flat Track Racing taking place at the Plaza Hotel and Casino’s Core Arena, the Bell Brawl at Red Rock Harley-Davidson, and the return of the Artistry In Iron custom bike show display, a new type of energy was felt throughout the entire rally”, states Mindi Cherry, Event Manager.
Vegas BikeFest 2019 offered attendees a variety of entertainment at the rally including Moonshine Bandits on Friday night and the always entertaining metal band Steel Panther on Saturday night. Carol Lyn’s Herstory of Rock kicked off the weekend on Thursday night. In addition to the concerts, attendees had the opportunity to explore over 100 vendor booths filled with motorcycles, parts, accessories, apparel and more.
Vegas BikeFest partnered with V-Twin Visionary and Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys to give away a custom Harley-Davidson Street Glide on Saturday night. Valerie W. from Fontana, CA, was the lucky recipient of the bike that included custom parts from Leading Edge, Saddlemen Seats, Bassani Xhaust, Klock Werks, and ThunderMax.
In addition to the motorcycle, Vegas BikeFest gave away over $100,000 in prizes and cash, including $5,000 in BikeFest Bucks Shopping Sprees that was spent with vendors at the rally. The always popular Miss Vegas BikeFest did not disappoint along with other crowd favorites Best Facial Hair Contest, Bikini Contest, Tattoo Contest and Biker Bingo. Poker Walks, Poker Run, and Lady Luck Fun Run were big hits and mulligan sales raised $2,500 to benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Vegas BikeFest featured four different bike shows kicking it off on Thursday with Full Throttle Magazine’s Ride-In Bike Show featuring over 10 different categories. Best in Show went to Anthony Robinson with his 1966 Triumph T-100. On Friday, V-Twin Visionary Performance Bike Show debuted with Best of Show going to Ramjet Racing with the completely custom ’03 Dyna. Saturday was the Vegas BikeFest Custom Bike Show sponsored by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys; with over 15 categories. Brian Hendricks with his 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide won People’s Choice while Anthony Robinson’s 1966 Triumph T-100 took home Best in Show. On Sunday, the Sick Chicks, No Dipsticks (All Female Bike Show) debuted at the rally, adding to the festivities with a great showing of all female owned bikes.
Hooligan Dirt Dash brought two nights of flat track racing to Vegas BikeFest with Mikey Virus taking first place on both nights of racing.
Plans are already underway for the 2020 Las Vegas BikeFest in downtown Las Vegas, with dates set for October 1-4, 2020.
Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, has crossed yet another milestone in its illustrious journey, with its manufacturing facility at Haridwar, in the northern Indian hill state of Uttarakhand achieving the unique distinction of surpassing 25 million units in cumulative production.
The manufacturing facility, commissioned in April 2008, has achieved the milestone in just over 11 years of operation – an industry record. The Haridwar facility of Hero MotoCorp is also the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturing plant with an installed capacity to produce 9500 vehicles per day.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vikram Kasbekar, Executive Director (Operations) and Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp said, “This is a significant milestone for not just our Haridwar manufacturing plant, but also the entire organization. The manufacturing practices that we follow at Hero MotoCorp have always set new benchmarks in the industry. The production of 25 million two-wheelers at our Haridwar plant in such a short period of time since its commencement of operation bears testimony to the dedication and competency of the team. We are grateful to all our valued customers, partners, investors, the state government of Uttarakhand and all other stakeholders for their continued support and faith in us..”
Keeping Hero MotoCorp’s focus on sustainability, the Haridwar manufacturing facility has the world’s largest green-roof, spread over 4500 sq. mtr. The plant produces 1.95 MW of solar power, has zero liquid discharge and a lake for rain water harvesting.
The plant produces Hero MotoCorp’s popular motorcycles – HF Deluxe, Splendor+, Splendor iSmart 110, Passion Pro and Passion 110. With a robust supply chain, it sources 75% (in value) of the parts from industries within Uttarakhand.
Hero MotoCorp currently has seven globally benchmarked manufacturing facilities, including five in India and one each in Bangladesh and Colombia. The plants located in India are at Gurugram and Dharuhera in Haryana, Neemrana in Rajasthan, Halol in Gujarat and Haridwar.
The Company’s eighth manufacturing facility is coming up at Chittoor in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The combined installed annual production capacity of Hero MotoCorp is currently around nine million units.
Shares of HERO MOTOCORP LTD. was last trading in BSE at Rs.2705.05 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 2683.05. The total number of shares traded during the day was 14182 in over 1019 trades.
The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 2715.9 and intraday low of 2688.4. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 38353159.
The Ultimate combination of Performance, Comfort and Technology.
Dominating passing power from our all-new, liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-twin engine. All-day comfort from a chassis-mounted fairing and power adjustable windscreen. Next-level riding experience with Smart Lean Technology™ and new Ride Command system with real-time traffic and weather overlays.
Challenge everything you know about American motorcycles with best-in-class performance, comfort, and technology all wrapped in distinctive, aggressive styling.
Take Your Indian Challenger to the next level by adding Authentic Accessories from the new Rogue and Tour Collections.
Pack up. Ride out. Get the room you need without sacrificing the style you want. Any Indian Motorcycle bagger is a great choice for wherever the day takes you.
Indian Motorcycle unveils its new Challenger to Harley heavyweight
by David Schuyler from https://www.bizjournals.com
Indian Motorcycle has revealed its newest model for 2020 — the Indian Challenger – and it’s likely to look very familiar to many Harley-Davidson riders.
The Indian Challenger comes in three variants, the Challenger, Challenger Dark Horse and Challenger Limited, with base prices of $21,999, $27,499 and $27,999, respectively.
Indian, the vintage motorcycle brand that Medina, Minnesota-based parent company Polaris Inc. has positioned as an alternative to the heavyweights from Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG), teased the new motorcycle last week when it released details on the new PowerPlus engine that’s at the heart of the Challenger.
With its big liquid-cooled, 108-cubic-inch V-twin power plant, Indian’s newest model is perhaps the brand’s deepest incursion yet into Harley-Davidson’s market. And there’s one big reason to look at it that way,
Even before Tuesday’s official roll-out, more than one motorsports industry writer compared some earlier leaked images of the Challenger to Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide, a big touring bike that represented a sizable portion of the sales mix for Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. back in 2013, when the iconic motorcycle manufacturer put Road Glide on a hiatus that lasted all of one year.
When teasing the new Challenger model last week, Indian described at as a “fixed-fairing bagger,” a term that aptly describes the Road Glide. With the Challenger, Indian is clearly targeting one of Harley-Davidson’s biggest market spaces. Upon reintroducing an updated Road Glide for the 2015 model year, Harley’s chief financial officer John Olin said in January 2014 that Road Glide accounted for 9 percent of the company’s sales volume. Cutting into that chunk of the industry could hurt.
So can the Challenger slice into that market? Here’s the scoop on the Challenger:
The PowerPlus V-twin pushing 128 ft-lbs of torque is packed onto cast-aluminum frame with inverted front suspension and adjustable rear shock, Brembo brake system and large 18-gallon capacity saddlebags. Additional features include electronic cruise control, full LED lighting, anti-lock brakes and keyless ignition.
The Limited and Dark Horse models include Indian’s Smart Lean technology, which enhances braking, traction control and handling, and the Indian Ride Command infotainment system featuring weather and traffic overlays, key vehicle information, and Bluetooth and USB mobile pairing.
How does it compare with the Road Glide? The 2020 Road Glide is powered by iconic brand’s Milwaukee-Eight 107 or 114 engine with 111 to 122 ft-lbs of torque. Cruise control, ABS, LED lighting and Brembo brakes are also part of the Road Glide package. Price? Road Glide starts at $21,699 and goes up to $28,299 for the Road Glide Limited.
The Indian Challenger’s PowerPlus engines are made at a Wisconsin plant in Osceola, while assembly of the Challenger takes place at the company’s plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Indian Motorcycle Pushes American V-Twins Forward With the All-New 2020 Challenger – the Ultimate American Bagger
by Associated Press from https://www.oaoa.com
The bar for American motorcycles has officially been elevated. Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, has dramatically redefined the American bagger with its introduction of the 2020 Indian Challenger – a striking combination of American muscle, next-level technology, and premium comfort to deliver a truly unmatched riding experience.
Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, has dramatically redefined the American bagger with its introduction of the 2020 Indian Challenger. From left to right: Indian Challenger Dark Horse, Indian Challenger Limited, Indian Challenger (Photo: Business Wire)
Designed for the most knowledgeable and discerning riders, Indian designers stopped at nothing to ensure that the Challenger out-classed its competition and delivered the highest performing, fully loaded bagger on the market.
“The Indian Challenger delivers a new level of performance for riders who understand that the seemingly small details make a huge difference,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle. “Our mindset was to leave no stone unturned and deliver a bagger that exceeds the standards in categories like power, handling, comfort, and technology.”
It starts with the all-new Indian PowerPlus engine, Indian’s first liquid-cooled large displacement motor (108 cubic-inch, 60-degree V-twin) that packs a best-in-class 122 horsepower and 128 ft-lbs. of torque. The new powertrain also features a six-speed transmission with true overdrive, assist clutch to reduce clutch effort, and hydraulic valve lash adjusters and camshaft chain tensioners for a low maintenance, reliable powerplant. The PowerPlus’ overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder deliver incredible V-twin performance and power. Riders can customize the bike’s throttle mapping by selecting one of three ride modes, including Rain, Standard and Sport – resulting in one motorcycle with three distinct performance personalities. Each ride mode has been engineered with its own distinct traction control setting to align with each mode’s specific throttle mapping.
Starting at $21,999, the Challenger features all the premium touring amenities riders expect from Indian Motorcycle, including electronic cruise control, full LED lighting, a long-haul seat, ABS, keyless ignition, and weatherproof saddlebags with over 18 gallons of storage space. In addition, a modern and aggressively styled chassis-mounted fairing sits over the Challenger’s inverted front suspension. This, combined with the bike’s lightweight cast aluminum frame and hydraulically adjustable FOX ® rear shock, delivers unrivaled handling and rock-solid stability.
Race-spec radially-mounted Brembo ® brakes provide superior stopping power, and new performance touring Metzeler ® Cruisetec ® tires offer supreme traction. Challenger’s chassis-mounted fairing features an adjustable windscreen with nearly three inches of travel and adjustable air vents – delivering unprecedented rider protection from all elements. With menacing LED running lights, a central headlamp, and a redesigned and modernized Indian Motorcycle headdress adorning its front fender, the Challenger presents an unmistakable profile day and night.
A true state-of-the-art bagger, the Limited and Dark Horse variants of Challenger are equipped with Indian Motorcycle’s intuitive Smart Lean Technology™, keeping riders confidently grounded by utilizing a Bosch IMU to add cornering control to the dynamic traction control and ABS, as well as Drag Torque Control. These models also feature Indian Ride Command, the largest, most-customizable touchscreen infotainment system on two wheels. The Challenger’s seven-inch Ride Command system features weather and traffic overlays, key vehicle information, Bluetooth ® and USB mobile pairing, and an all-new quad-core processor for faster response.
For its inaugural year, the Challenger lineup is accompanied by a variety of Indian Motorcycle Authentic Accessories that allow riders to upgrade their ride based on their preferences. With the Indian Challenger Rogue Collection, riders can improve sound and add blacked-out styling with the black stage 1 slip-on muffler and black PowerPlus stage 1 air intake. While a gloss black mid-rise handlebar, a tinted curved windshield and gloss black front highway bars add a premium blacked-out finish.
For an added measure of comfort over longer hauls there’s the Indian Challenger Tour Collection, including a 16-inch windshield, quick release passenger sissy bar, passenger backrest and passenger floorboards, an extended reach seat, rider backrest pad, infinite highway pegs and pinnacle heel shifter. Riders can also upgrade the Indian Challenger’s audio experience with the PowerBand Audio Plus system, which delivers exceptional sound and clarity from high-output fairing and saddlebag speakers that are 50% louder than the Challenger’s stock audio system.
With its modern, aggressive look, and a seemingly unlimited array of performance, comfort and technological features, the Indian Challenger stands alone as the ultimate bagger.
“While we are grounded in our iconic history, we are focused and driven to break new ground and establish a higher standard for riders; and the Challenger is a testament to that,” said Steve Menneto, President of Indian Motorcycle. “The amount of technology and level of detail packed into this bike is incredible, and it’s something we’re extremely proud of.”
Pricing for the 2020 Indian Challenger, available in Titanium Metallic paint, starts at $21,999, while the Challenger Dark Horse, starting at $27,499, is available in Thunder Black Smoke, Sandstone Smoke, and White Smoke. The Indian Challenger Limited starts at $27,999, and is available in Thunder Black Pearl, Deepwater Metallic, and Ruby Metallic.
The Indian Challenger will be assembled at Indian Motorcycle’s production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Learn more about Indian Motorcycle and the 2020 Indian Challenger by visiting IndianMotorcycle.com and following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Indian Motorcycles are delivering their all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-twin, which is now the most powerful engine in its class.
We have raised the bar for American motorcycles with our most powerful engine to date, the PowerPlus. The all-new 108 cu in, liquid-cooled V-twin engine delivers a class leading 122 hp and 128 ft-lbs of torque, establishing a new standard for V-twin performance.
Tested, Refined, Proven
We put the PowerPlus through the industry’s most rigorous development and testing program. We piled on almost one million miles of simulated testing, including state-of-the-art dyno testing and over 250,000 miles on the road.
Power you can depend on
The PowerPlus motor’s overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder deliver incredible V-twin power. Hydraulic valve lash adjusters and hydraulic camshaft chain tensioners make it easy to maintain and reliable.
All new powertrain
Six-speed transmission with true overdrive, assist clutch to reduce effort and three ride modes – Rain, Standard and Sport. Now riders can customize throttle mappings and traction control settings to their riding preferences.
A nod to Indian Motorcycle’s iconic history, the new PowerPlus motor is named after one of our original motorcycles, produced from 1916 to 1924.
Engine Displacement: 108 cu in (1769 cc)
Power: 122 hp at 5,500 RPM
Torque: 128 ft-lbs at 3,800 RPM
Maximum Engine Speed: 6,500 RPM
Architecture: 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled
Timing: Overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed with true overdrive, constant mesh
Clutch: Assist clutch
Our all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-twin is the most powerful engine in its class. With overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder delivering a blistering 122hp and 128 ft-lbs of torque, it redefines American performance.
(Tribune News Service) — Chris Mathison served three tours in Iraq over a 14-month period.
As a U.S. Army infantryman, he was in charge of millions of dollars worth of equipment, led a team of fellow infantrymen and, all things considered, was a soldier who was depended upon and good at his job.
When he came back home to Tennessee, he had a hard time adjusting.
The Nashville native moved to Cookeville after he got out of the service in 2011 and tried to find a stable job.
“I’ve probably been through 10 jobs,” Mathison said. “It’s hard to find something that fits. You don’t feel like you belong, there’s no sense of purpose or belonging.”
He went to school and received an associate’s degree, but even school was a tough adjustment.
“I remember very fondly when I got out, I was going through a sociology class,” Mathison recalled. “As we were flipping through the book, I found a picture of my unit in Iraq and it just kind of blew my mind.”
Mathison, 35, had a whole life behind him that he had a hard time talking about. Not only was the subject matter sensitive, he couldn’t find like-minded people to talk to. As an infantryman, he was surrounded by people who were going through the same things as he was, living through the same experiences.
When he came back home, he was taking general education courses with 19-year-olds.
“That was interesting,” he said with a smirk.
Soon after he got out, Mathison signed up for his first program with the Wounded Warrior Project, the country’s largest veterans charity organization.
He enrolled in the organization’s TRACK program, which had a curriculum meant to heal, develop and train the mind, body and spirit of each wounded warrior through two semesters of college.
It also incorporated peak performance training, health and wellness training, personal finance advice and a physical education program.
Ever since, he’s been a loyal supporter of the organization that helps veterans in a number of ways.
Wounded Warriors also helped Mathison get certified in scuba diving.
One of the newest programs in Georgia is a 12-week mental health workshop that kicks off with a three-day motorcycle road trip across North Georgia.
Jon Blauvelt, a public relations specialist with Wounded Warriors, said the program is designed to give veterans an outlet to manage PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other invisible wounds of war while connecting with nature and fellow veterans.
Motorcycles play a huge role in the therapy. Through wind and throttle therapy, reflective discussion and several weeks of follow-ups, the group of eight veterans from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Florida will experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip while bettering themselves mentally and spiritually.
“When you’re on one of these big bikes, all you’re thinking about is the bike,” Blauvelt said. “I’m on this bike, here are my surroundings, here’s the weather, but you’re not thinking about PTSD or [traumatic brain injury], you’re not thinking about what happened before and you’re not thinking about the future. You’re thinking about the present moment.”
It’s a perfect fit for Mathison, who is also a part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
Mathison and the seven other riders strolled in at the Harley-Davidson store in Dalton, Georgia, on Tuesday afternoon for a lunch hosted by the motorcycle shop.
Cynthia Allgood, manager of the store, said it was a privilege to host the veterans who sacrificed so much for the country without asking for anything in return.
“Something like this gets you together with like-minded individuals and you can talk about everything and it creates a really good atmosphere,” Mathison said. “You’re able to make some really good friends that I would not have met.”
Harley-Davidson has resumed production of the LiveWire electric motorcycle after assembly was stopped earlier this week when a charging issue cropped up and was spotted during quality checks.
A Harley-Davidson Motor Company representative told Forbes Friday morning that production was temporarily suspended “to confirm that the non-standard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence. We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles.”
They added that customers who already had the bikes could resume charging “through all methods,” including using the 120-volt (Level 1) on-board chargers that essentially let users plug the bikes into a wall outlet. Following the production halt, Harley had advised riders to only use the high-speed Level III Fast DC chargers at dealerships until the issue with the 120-volt charger was resolved. “Our quality assurances are working as they were designed, and we’ve reaffirmed the strength of the LiveWire product design, no product changes are needed and we’re moving forward,” the spokesperson told Forbes.
The issue marked a hiccup in Harley-Davidson’s rollout of the LiveWire motorcycles, which are a radical departure from the Motor Company’s usual slate of iconic gas-powered V-Twin machines. Harley is betting that the future of transportation – including motorcycles – will include more electric vehicles and they are the first major legacy motorcycle maker to put an all-electric bike into serial production.
The LiveWire features a 105-horsepower electric motor, 15.5kWh battery pack and can go zero to 60mph in three seconds.
Harley has said more electric models – including possibly electric bicycles – are on the way following the rollout of the $29,700 LiveWire. Indeed, there are Harley electric balance bikes for kids on sale at this time.
Oct 14 (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc said on Monday it has stopped production of its first electric motorcycle after discovering a glitch in the final quality checks.
The motorcycle maker said it does not have a timeline as to when the production will resume.
Harley-Davidson’s stock turns down after WSJ report halting production of electric motorcycle
Shares of Harley-Davidson Inc. HOG, +0.31% swung to a loss Monday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had to halt production and delivery of its first electric motorcycle after finding a problem related to charging equipment. The stock was down 1.1% in afternoon trading, after being up as much as 0.7% earlier in the session.
The electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, was part of the company’s plan to inspire the next generation of riders. The company is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Oct. 22 before the opening bell. Harley’s stock has lost 5.2% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.14% has slipped 1.6%.
We Are Living in the Best of Times and should Celebrate
I feel a shift coming. In some respects, I hope it’s a shift in the direction of Freedom. We are actually living in the best of times. Everything on the planet has improved for the better and we need to celebrate, not control and punish.
More and more I hear amazing stories about the lives of folks around me and the amazing things they accomplished. Markus Cuff played drums for Emily Lou Harris for several years. Then he started to shoot photos of bands in the ‘80s and I started to hire him to shoot tech articles for Easyriders. Since then he’s shot features for tons of magazines and for Bikernet.com ™.
I’m working on the Salt Torpedo slowly trying to finish the firewall, the fire suppression unit installations, the helmet cowling and strengthen the front axle swingarm mounts.
I fixed my 1969 Panhead, and the 1928 Panhead battery is toast. I’ve had two of these batteries take a shit and would like to try anti-gravity batteries, but they cost a bunch. I may try again.
2 Wheels and 218 Miles per Hour: The World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle
His bike wasn’t rumbling beneath him as he rolled up to Alice’s Restaurant. The California air was heavy with sun and the black exhaust of the Harleys, Yamahas and Kawasakis purring all around him.
His name was Richard Hatfield, and he was a computer engineer turned bike builder who was taking the first test run of his first prototype. It was an old Yamaha R1 bike frame fitted with an electric motor and stuffed with lithium iron phosphate batteries. The year was 2006, and the bike was the first lithium battery sports bike ever built.
Richard would have revved the engine had there been one. Instead, he turned left at Alice’s and pointed his bike toward the top of the Woodside hills. He gunned it, then it gunned him. It was the fastest acceleration he’d ever felt on a bike, and in an instant, the Yamaha shot noiselessly up the hill.
Richard felt fast as lightning.
There’s nothing easy about building an electric motorcycle. There’s limited space for components, yet electric vehicles need one component in abundance: batteries. Hatfield retrofitted his Yamaha R1 with 28 lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries, each one weighing 6.6lb and storing 90Ah at 3.2V for a total capacity of about 8kWh. The batteries took 7 hours to recharge and offered a range of 80 miles at 65mph. The whole project cost him $15,000.
It may not have been pretty, but it worked. That test drive at Alice’s Restaurant convinced Hatfield that electric bikes were the way of the future, an “unquestionably” better biking experience.
“For the first time, I experienced that electric torque and thrust without any noise or vibration or sound,” Hatfield recalled. “And the overwhelming feeling of this hand of God shoving me up the hill—without any of those distractions from internal combustion engine bikes—it just overwhelmed me that this is the future. This is the way motorcycles should feel.”
In 2009, three years after he created that first prototype, Hatfield incorporated Lightning Motorcycles, a company to bring his electric bikes to market. Using the knowledge he’d gained from building that first electric Yamaha and several prototypes since, Hatfield and his team of Silicon Valley engineers built a new sports bike that they called the Lightning SuperBike. The SuperBike had a liquid-cooled 104kW, 12,000rpm electric motor, a 345V, 11kWh LiFePo4 battery pack, and user-programmable regenerative braking.
It was a big step from a retrofitted Yamaha, and Hatfield and his team faced many challenges as they worked to bring the SuperBike to life.
“Anytime you try to do something for the first time, there are pitfalls,” Hatfield said. “There were thousands of things that had to be solved and evolved and improved.”
One of the biggest challenges was lowering the SuperBike’s weight to the level of a gas bike while working within the limited space of a motorcycle. For the SuperBike, the team’s solution was to make each component serve multiple functions. The electric motor, for example, doubled as the main stressed element of the bike frame. The battery pack was built with a strong skin to carry loads from the front fork to the motor. The swing arm on the back tire connected to the center of the motor as well.
“Every step of the process required an incredible amount of focus and a team effort to solve problems,” Hatfield noted.
Breaking Records, Then Breaking Them Again
In September 2010, the Lightning SuperBike lived up to its name when it broke the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats Racetrack in Utah. The bike clocked a record speed of 173mph. Less than a year later, in August 2011, the SuperBike outdid itself by hitting a top speed of 218mph. That wasn’t just fast for an electric bike. It was faster than any other production motorcycle for sale in North America, electric or otherwise.
To honor the record, Lightning renamed the SuperBike the LS-218, and it remained the bike to beat. In 2013, the LS-218 took first place in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a winding 12.42-mile journey to the top of the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado. The LS-218, in the hands of rider Carlin Dunne, made the journey in 10 minutes and 694 milliseconds. It was over 20 seconds faster than the next best time (10:21.323) claimed by a gas-powered Ducati Multistrada. It was the first year that electric bikes were allowed to compete in the race.
The LS-218 was available in its final commercial form by the end of 2015. It was a street-legal superbike, an emphatic demonstration that electric bikes aren’t just available, they’re desirable.
The commercial LS-218 packs an internal permanent magnet (IPM) liquid cooled electric motor outputting 150kW and 10,500rpm. It charges in as little as 30 minutes with 50kW DC fast charging. The entry-level model has a 12kWh battery pack, provides 100–120 miles of range, and costs $38,888. The bigger the battery, the higher the price: 16 kWh (120–150 miles) costs $42,888 and 20kWh (160–180 miles) costs $46,888.
Lightning Strikes Twice
With the LS-218, Lightning Motorcycles had built a high-performance but high-cost motorcycle. For Lightning’s next project, Hatfield wanted to make an electric bike that was accessible to more riders. In late 2016, he and his team set out to develop a lower-cost follow-up to the LS-218.
“The next big challenge was not just to build something that performed as good or better than the best internal combustion bikes in the world, but something that could be competitively priced and perform as well,” Hatfield said.
Named the Lightning Strike, the new bike would have a target retail price of $13,000. Designing a new bike that would be a third of the price of the company’s previous model was a challenge, but Lightning was finding its feet in the electric motorcycle market.
“We’ve spent a lot of the last 10 years vetting suppliers, building relationships, and trying to enroll supply chain vendors in the vision we have for this product,” Hatfield explained.
The biggest cost saver for the Strike was the plummeting cost of batteries. In 2006, Hatfield’s first lithium battery prototype cost $15,000 and had a total battery capacity of 8kWh. Today, 8kWh of lithium-ion batteries costs less than $1,500.
“We, like most of the electric vehicle industry, are the beneficiary of the reduction in price of lithium batteries,” Hatfield explained. “The lithium batteries are the number one cost in setting all the world records for motorcycles: for performance, for top speed, for winning international racing competitions.”
Earlier this year, Lightning Motorcycles began shipping the Lightning Strike Carbon, the top-spec model of the Strike series, for $19,998. The bike has a 20kWh battery, a 90kW, 15,000rpm electric motor, a top speed of 150mph, and a range up to 200 miles. Lightning will soon offer a $15,998 version of the Strike, followed by a $12,998 version, fulfilling Hatfield’s goal of having a great electric bike with an entry-level price.
“We’re starting with the top-spec bike, getting that out to customers, and then working into the more competitively priced bikes,” Hatfield commented.
Lightning Motorcycles hasn’t forgotten about its record-breaking superbike. In 2018, the company built an even higher-performing successor to the LS-218: the LS-218R. But when the company took the bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats to test its top speed, the track got in the way of a new record.
“Unfortunately, the quality of the salt at Bonneville has really been degrading over the last 10 years,” Hatfield explained. “So, when we took the new bike to the salt, anything over 50 percent throttle basically spun the rear tire. We ended up going 209.7 at 58 percent throttle with the rear tire going 235. The rider said he felt confident it would have broken our existing record by a pretty large margin, but we just couldn’t put the power down.”
Lightning hopes to break its record—and find a proper name for its new bike—as soon as it can pinpoint the right test track. Meanwhile, the company is experimenting with new ways of designing its motorcycles. For example, Lightning has partnered with software provider Autodesk to use generative design to optimize and lightweight parts of its bikes. Nothing has entered production yet, but Hatfield is confident in the technology.
Looking back on that day in 2006 when he rode his electric Yamaha for the first time, Hatfield feels grateful for the confluence of good timing and clever engineering that led to Lightning Motorcycles.
“Sometimes there’s a feeling of just being very fortunate to be at the beginning of something, and being able to make a difference and lead a charge,” he said.
‘Oil in the Blood’ is a documentary feature film on the contemporary custom motorcycle culture. The film is directed by biker biker Gareth Maxwell Roberts and produced by Lucy Selwood.
This is not a film about motorcycles, it’s a film about motorcycle people.
The philosophy of individualism is embedded in motorcycling. The desire to be different and unique, is at the root of the motorcyclist’s imagination. Modifying, customising, and changing bikes is at the very heart of the biker. Custom motorcycle culture has experienced a renaissance in recent years, and what was once a niche subculture now bears a significant influence on the international mainstream motorcycle industry.
Over the last three years, Gareth and Lucy have interviewed nearly three hundred bike builders, riders, journalists, artists and racers; the very heartbeat of this culture. They’ve communed with like-minded souls in Britain, Europe, Japan, Australia, The Far East, Africa and the US. They’ve spoken to major manufactures Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Royal Enfield, Ducati and BMW.
Lucy and Gareth have filmed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, The Amercian Motorcycle Museum in Holland, The Malle Mile, Wheels & Waves in Biarritz, The Trip Out, The Brooklyn Invitational, The Distinguished Gentlemans Ride in London and New York, Throttle Roll in Sydney, Indian Larry’s Block Party, Dirt Quake, Snowquake, The Malle Mile and The Trip Out in rural England, The One Moto Show in Portland, Mama Tried in Milwaukee, Mooneyes in Tokyo, and The Handbuilt Show in Austin.
The film-makers filmed a collaboration between Harley Davidson and maverick bike builders El Solitario in the Sahara, flat track racing in dusty bowls and indoor arenas, ice racing in Wisconsin and in the Alps, and the American Wall of Death in the Texas sun. They’ve shot dozens of cool custom bikes being ridden through the urban streets, the twisting mountain roads, through the rolling green countryside and the scorched flat plains. They’ve filmed choppers, café-racers, flattrackers, sprint bikes, electrics, old school specials and urban brats, hundred-thousand dollar pristine beauties and five hundred buck rippers.
Gareth is a career film maker and life-long biker, having ridden most kinds of bikes over the last thirty-five years. He’s had had stints as a motorcycle courier and a wholly undistinguished but highly enjoyable racing career; been on some great adventures and crashed more times than he cares to remember. He’s a repeat offending terrible mechanic, but thankfully has talented friends.
“Oil In The Blood” has it’s worldwide release on October 14th for sale and rental on Amazon, iTunes, and google. DVD/ Blu-ray available on pre-order now on Amazon.
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